Sunday, 10 February 2019

Depression's Evolutionary Roots

quote [ Two scientists suggest that depression is not a malfunction, but a mental adaptation that brings certain cognitive advantages ]

Article's not new, but I thought it was interesting. Could also be filed under "health".

[SFW] [science & technology] [+10 Interesting]
[by hellboy@10:04pmGMT]


rezties said @ 5:57am GMT on 11th Feb [Score:4 Underrated]
Yeah, maybe in the same context that tumors are an evolutionary defense, and malignancy being a side effect\consequence.

Speaking from experience, it would take more than what the article amuses to convince me depression is anything short of a mental cancer, propagating upon itself and killing everything it touches.

I am only here today for a lack of courage to commit to dying half a lifetime ago. I refuse to believe evolution would look upon that well.
hellboy said @ 4:47pm GMT on 11th Feb
Yeah - there's a reason for why everything exists - but it isn't necessarily a good reason.
Fish said @ 1:07pm GMT on 11th Feb [Score:-4]
filtered comment under your threshold
rylex said @ 2:43pm GMT on 11th Feb [Score:1]
Maybe the problem is you don't understand the meaning of the word 'theory'.
Ankylosaur said @ 5:16pm GMT on 11th Feb
Maybe the problem is fish is realizing his climate-change-denialist schtick isn't as triggering as he hoped so he's seen an opportunity to branch out into anti-evolutionism as a classic form of trollery.
cb361 said @ 7:54pm GMT on 11th Feb [Score:2]
Maybe the problem is that he wants to get a reaction, any reaction, and people keep giving it to him.
arrowhen said @ 6:08pm GMT on 11th Feb
He's evolving!
C18H27NO3 said @ 7:35pm GMT on 11th Feb
Oh for fucks sake no.

That just means he's going to learn to walk on land and breath air.
cb361 said @ 7:52pm GMT on 11th Feb
Air is just a theory.
rylex said @ 11:56pm GMT on 11th Feb
Maybe hes devolving?
Hugh E. said @ 2:20am GMT on 11th Feb [Score:1 Insightful]
Doesn't help, but, sure.
hellboy said @ 4:44pm GMT on 11th Feb
Nothing does.

I was hoping that understanding the evolutionary purpose of depression would yield some insight into getting past it, but it didn't.
hellboy said @ 5:04pm GMT on 11th Feb [Score:1 Insightful]
Here's my current explanation: humans are hard-wired to crave a sense of purpose or value. This is naturally selected for because a group of humans trying really hard to be useful to each other is much better equipped, collectively, to compete with a bunch of sociopaths all acting out of their own naked self-interest (sociopathy has its value too of course). This wiring leads to a number of unintentional consequences, including philosophy, religion, and depression. Evolution doesn't particularly care whether your need to feel useful is actually met, as long as you make your contribution and increase the spread of your genes. There's a peak of depression in young adults because they're still trying to find their niche, the specific thing they have to offer that will make them valuable to their tribe. And there's another peak later in life when people outlive their usefulness or start to feel that they haven't been rewarded for what they thought was their useful contribution. Capitalism exacerbated this effect (though it's been present all along) because it's a system of institutionalized exploitation.

But, you know, that's just my hypothesis. I haven't really tested it.
C18H27NO3 said @ 7:34pm GMT on 11th Feb
I'll agree with that. Our current social construct creates, as a side effect in great numbers, depression. That's not to say it didn't exist prior, it just means it's numbers have been amplified. And modernization and capitalism have a great deal to do with it.
lilmookieesquire said @ 1:37am GMT on 11th Feb
That's a really interesting article, thanks Hellboy!
snowfox said @ 12:07am GMT on 13th Feb
Depression may be advantageous to a point, but beyond that the harmful effects are so severe that they outweigh or even negate the supposed benefits. Rumination turns into obsession. Social consciousness turns into paranoia. Self-reflection turns into self-loathing. It's not great.

If you have depression and anxiety, welcome to comorbid conditions whose treatments are typically mutually exclusive and will exacerbate the condition they weren't meant to treat.
zarathustra said @ 9:45am GMT on 14th Feb
Yeah, but at least we are highly evolved.

Post a comment
[note: if you are replying to a specific comment, then click the reply link on that comment instead]

You must be logged in to comment on posts.

Posts of Import
4 More Years!
SE v2 Closed BETA
First Post
Subscriptions and Things
AskSE: What do you look like?

Karma Rankings